Remembering the Spirit of Wayne S. Dismuke 1941-2006

Friday May 19, 2006

Wayne S. Dismuke was born Oct. 17, 1941, in El Dorado, Ark., through the union of Horace K. and Doris J. Dismuke. Wayne was the first child of Horace and Doris. He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1959. 

After High School, Wayne joined the Naval branch of the Armed Forces and served in the Submarine Division, until he was honorably discharged in 1964. 

Wayne was hired in the Berkeley Fire Department on Sept. 11, 1967, and was the top candidate in his recruit class. He promoted through the ranks of Apparatus Operator, Fire Lieutenant and Fire Captain. In November of 1985, Captain Dismuke became the first African-American Fire Training Director of the Berkeley Fire Department. 

As the Director of Training, he formed many of the current leaders in the Berkeley Fire Department. He was the initial incident commander in the City of Berkeley, in the 1991 Berkeley/Oakland Hills fire. 

As President of the Berkeley Black Firefighters Association, Wayne was dedicated and committed to improving diversity in the fire service and was a leading voice for this cause, organizing demonstrations, and appealing to Fire and City officials to increase employment opportunities in the fire service for African-Americans, women and other minorities. 

As a visionary, he advocated for a youth training program and in 2002, the Berkeley Youth Academy was formed, bringing together young people of all ethnicities and genders.  

Captain Dismuke was the first recipient of the Berkeley Black Firefighters community service award, recognizing his service to the community and naming the award in his behalf, the Wayne S. Dismuke Community Service Award. 

He was the originator of the Berkeley Black Firefighters slogan, “Serving the Community and Not Ourselves,”, which spoke volumes about his character, as did his 36 years of selfless giving and dedication to the Berkeley community.  

Aside from the challenges of the fire service Wayne enjoyed traveling, especially taking cruises to the Caribbean and the Bahamas, fine dining and an occasional horse race. 

On May 14, 2006, Captain Wayne S. Dismuke was called home. He was preceded in death by his mother, Doris Jean Dismuke and his son, Wayne Lamont Dismuke. 

He leaves to cherish his precious and loving memory, his wife, Mrs. Raquel Dismuke; daughter, Ms. Monique Dismuke of Oakland; granddaughter, Nyela Jones; two stepchildren, Anthony and Mercedes Flores of Hayward; five step granddaughters, Brandie, Brittany, Samantha, Antonia Flores and Isabelle Lewis; his father, Horace K. Dismuke and sister, Ms. Glenda Dismuke of Berkeley; three aunts, Mrs. Toni Crosby of Oakland, Mrs. Dorothy Younger of Richmond, and Ms. Evelyn Dismuke of Oakland; three nieces, Ms. Tamara Harris, Shuana Scarbrough, and Mrs. Nichole Blair; two nephews, Mr. Damon Scarbrough Sr., and Mr. Aaron Scarbrough Sr. and a host of other family and friends.  

The family requests that any donations or gifts be given to the City of Berkeley’s Rebuilding Together, a program formerly known as Christmas In April.